Kiron Reid resigns from Lib Dems to run as independent police commissioner in Merseyside

Kiron Reid, three-times Lib Dem parliamentary candidate and a councillor in Liverpool for a decade, has resigned from the party to enable him to run for the post of Police and Crime Commissioner as an independent. He’s explained his decision in an open letter on his website:

It is with regret that I resign from the Liberal Democrats. I joined the Liberal Party in May 1987 and have been a member with the same membership number ever since. Despite the party’s current problems I did not want to leave and had no intention of falling out with the Party. But I believe that the post of Police and Crime Commissioner should not be party political. I have argued this internally for more than a year, with senior party officers locally five month ago, and publicly since late August. Unfortunately some senior figures locally decided that they wanted to put up a Liberal Democrat candidate. I am standing as an Independent in the election on Merseyside and therefore have to leave.

Though a reluctant resignee, Kiron levels some strong criticism against the party leadership:

At the same time I work in a University and I sit surrounded by the destruction of the British tradition of University education. The Labour Government started this but the Coalition Government have accelerated it. I do not doubt that the Liberal Democrats have tried to make the system fairer. There are also some changes happening that are beneficial for students. The system is being destroyed with Nick Clegg’s cooperation. I think Nick Clegg genuinely believes that he has acted in the best interests of the country. I give him credit for the good policies that he has got implemented, on civil liberties and taking the lowest paid workers out of tax. But personally I cannot trust Nick Clegg or recommend any member of the public to vote for him. I also understand that none of this is the fault of hardworking staff in Party headquarters or of the many tireless volunteers up and down the country.

LibDemVoice polled party members on whether Lib Dems should contest the police commissioner elections under the party’s colours a year ago. By a substantial majority, 57% to 24%, our survey showed strong support for official Lib Dem candidates fighting this November’s elections.

* Stephen was Editor (and Co-Editor) of Liberal Democrat Voice from 2007 to 2015, and writes at The Collected Stephen Tall.

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11 Comments

  • “At the same time I work in a University and I sit surrounded by the destruction of the British tradition of University education. The Labour Government started this but the Coalition Government have accelerated it. I do not doubt that the Liberal Democrats have tried to make the system fairer. There are also some changes happening that are beneficial for students. The system is being destroyed with Nick Clegg’s cooperation.”

    This can’t go unchallenged. He offers only a set of sweeping assertions wiht no analysis. The “British tradition of University education” to which I think he refers goes back at most less than two generations, to the mid 1960s, and was effectively ended with the abolition of Polytechnics and the expansion of numbers to 50% of each year-group cohort. Once this happened, it was inevitable that there would be wholesale changes to the way Universities were run and funded.

    If the author is arguing for a return to the situation that pertained prior to 1992 then I for one would very much welcome it. Somehow, I think he isn’t. In which case, what is this “destruction” of which he is talking?

  • Sounds like a sensible move. I will be voting for an independent candidate in the commissioner elections if there is one on the ballot paper. I want people I elect to owe their loyalty to the people who elect them not to a political party. Anyone in an elected position should always do what is best for their electorate and not what their party wants them to do.

  • Kiron is a good chap, who I frst met when he was at Bristol Uni. .Many good Liberals , are finding themselves ‘not at home’ in the Lib Dems. Where do we go? Perhaps thats what some in the party are assuming…. there is nowhere else to go?? I lasped a year ago after ‘active service ‘, going back over 30 years (Im not 50 yet!!), it wasnt an easy decision, but I am enjoying the freedom.

  • To be honest , it’s either charmingly naive to argue that the Lib Dems shouldn’t stand candidates in elections for which the other parties are standing candidates, or just an excuse because he didn’t get (or think he’d get) the official nomination.

    I’m not convinced that these are posts that should be filled by election, but if they are, then it is critical that voters have an LD choice rather than just Con/Lab and some murky independents who aren’t subject to anything remotely resembling party discipline and accountability.

  • “But I believe that the post of Police and Crime Commissioner should not be party political.”

    Kiron said on Facebook that he is remaining a member of Liberal International which I don’t see how that is compatible with this sentiment as it is an organisation with a distinct philosophy, policy and which bars people who are members of incompatible groups.

  • Richard Dean 22nd Oct '12 - 2:32am

    It is a political post.

    Isn’t one of the PCC’s tasks to ensure that the plice are properly identifying, prioritizing, and addressing the needs of the community they serve? That task requires significant political skills in terms of finding out what a community wants and balancing the needs of different oparts of the community and wider needs. Every community is not only different, but internally diverse. The task also has potentially significant impacts – doing it badly means the plice will not serve the community to best effect.

    The task involves choices, I don’t know what they are, but they seem to involve agreeing priorities – maybe like, focus hard drugs and leave soft drug users alone. Or focus on crime in area A this year, which implies are a B gets less police service. Or put more resources into stopping muggings and less into white collar crime, or vice versa. These kinds of choices can impact different sections of the community differently, and so become political choices that political parties can have views on.

    I’ll bet there’ll akso be coordination issues between neighbouring PCC areas, and even at national level, which means that groups will form at these levels having different opinions. Such groups are what political parties are.

    So it seems to me natural and right that political parties get involved in the PCC elections.

  • ‘or recommend any member of the public to vote for him’.. that displays the usual media shorthand that when we vote we vote for the party Leader. This reflects poorly on someone who has been part of LibDem politics for a while, that he probably relies too heavily on the opinions of Wapping scribblers, rather than his own judgement.
    Like anyone else who leaves the Party, he is composing his excuses on the basis of what he thinks might sound justifiable. If he is truly regretful he has to leave, he doesn’t have to try to do harm the the Party as he goes, unless he thinks it will help endear him to his electorate to say such things.
    As any detective will tell you, don’t simply follow the accusation, be warned about the accuser too.

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